100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith is proof that I am not a smart woman.
I read another book by Smith a few years ago that everyone was raving about. And I hated it. Not just hated it, but “hated, loathed, despised, abhorred, and abominated” it, to paraphrase my American History teacher.
But when I saw this in a list of review copies, I was so taken with the bizarre cover, that I didn’t notice the author was my imagination’s nemisis and I downloaded it. And that’s a good thing.
Finn, the main character of this book, tells time not in minutes, hours, or days, but in miles – that is, how many miles the earth has travelled in its orbit around the sun. He suffers from seizures that mess with his everyday life. His dad’s a famous sci-fi author whose incredibly well known character is based on Finn, which doesn’t always help with Finn’s reality. His best friend, Cade, is a little crazy. And then Finn meets Julia, who happens to be a fan of his father’s work and who finds him passed out after a seizure. Despite these two perceived strikes, Finn and Julia hit it off.
The book ends as a road trip story with Finn and Cade heading off for a college visit that ends up taking a very big turn.
The cover and the title come from an event in Finn’s childhood that has shaped his life, for better or worse. I won’t give it away, because it’s definitely a unique plot point.